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David E. Aldous

Human awareness of plants in Australia goes back 50,000 years when the aboriginal first began using plants to treat, clothe and feed themselves. The European influence came in 1778 with the First Fleet landing in New South Wales. Australia's earliest records of using horticulture for therapy and rehabilitation were in institutions for people with intellectual disabilities or who were incarcerated. Eventually, legislation created greater awareness in the government and community for the needs of persons with disabilities, and many worthwhile projects, programs and organizations were established or gained greater recognition. Horticultural therapy programs may be found in nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, adult training support services, hospitals, day centers, community centers and gardens, educational institutions, supported employment, and the prisons system. This article reviews the history and development of Australian horticulture as a therapy in the treatment of disabilities and social disadvantaged groups, and includes an overview of programs offered for special populations and of Australia's horticultural therapy associations. It also discusses opportunities for research, teaching and extension for horticultural therapy in Australia.

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Elsa Sanchez and Richard Craig

The Plant Systematics course at Penn State University was reformatted in 1995 based on a three-dimensional model. It now includes several collaborative learning activities: a learning fair hosted by the enrolled students for elementary school students; applied laboratory exercises; and applied laboratory examinations. Each activity has a specific objective and was constructed to strengthen teaching effectiveness and to aid students in developing useful skills for future employment. A survey was administered to students enrolled in the course from 2003 through 2005 in part to assess the collaborative learning activities. Most students “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that they liked working in collaborative groups and learned from other group members. Students preferred working in groups for laboratory examinations more than for the Asteraceae Fair and learned more from their peers while completing the laboratory exercises than in laboratory examinations. Student participation in the lecture portion of the course increased as collaborative learning activities were completed. Camaraderie with peers through group work may have created an atmosphere conducive to participation and/or involvement during lectures. Organization and planning were vital to the success of these activities, as were using small groups and providing adequate incentives for completing activities. These activities engaged students to become active participants in the teaching and learning process.

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Carlton C. Davidson, Jeff L. Sibley and D. Joseph Eakes

Traditional propagation courses seldom allow extensive evaluation of the variables required for successful propagation. A series of experiments were designed to give an individual student practical experience in woody plant propagation. Softwood terminal cuttings were taken on five shrub or tree species, dividing each species into separate experiments comparing talc vs. liquid auxin formulations. Selections evaluated included luster leaf holly with treatments of 3000, 8000, and 16,000 ppm K-IBA; hetz holly, crape myrtle, and anise tree with treatments of 1000, 3000, and 8000 ppm K-IBA; and sugar maple with 8000 and 16,000 ppm K-IBA. Budding and seed propagation also were evaluated in sugar maple. In each species, except sugar maple, liquid quick-dip at the highest K-IBA concentration produced the best rooting. The student gained many educational benefits in basic experimental design, evaluation of data collected, and drawing conclusions to findings significant by industry standards. The student also learned and how production cycles have an impact on various methods, development stages of cutting material, and wounding techniques. The practical propagation experience gained was of primary importance thereby further preparing the student for employment in the industry.

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Cesar Asuaje, Palm Beach County and Joe Garofalo

Hispanic agricultural workers are difficult to reach and educate. Many can't benefit from Extension programs because of the language barrier, education level and social factors. Safety (WPS) and Pesticide Applicator certification are required for workers to find employment and advance. In Florida, the total non-fatal agricultural occupational injuries among Hispanic workers rose 33% between 1999 and 2001, and total fatal injuries rose 18% between 1999 and 2002. Florida laws require that pesticide applicator exams be in English. Many Hispanics have experience and knowledge in pesticide use, but lack of sufficient language skills prevents their becoming certified. The University of Florida is addressing this issue with an extension agent whose main responsibility is to design and deliver programs in Spanish. First, we assessed the needs and started networking within the Hispanic community. Concurrently, training programs were developed in WPS and 7 certification categories in greatest demand. These have been offered in 11 south Florida counties to 4000+ workers. After each class, presentations were modified to incorporate effective content and methods, based on surveys and test scores. Among participants who took an exam, the passing rate has risen from below 50% to above 60%. The following have given good results: use two native speakers (Spanish and English); conduct the class in Spanish, but emphasize written and spoken English words; both trainers must interact with the audience; use props or good illustrations; teach at all levels, but recommend the exam only to those who can read an English label.

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B.A. Kahn

An assessment was conducted for our departmental internship class (HORT 2010) for 1999–2003. With rare exceptions, all students majoring in Horticulture must complete 3 credits of HORT 2010, based on 480 hours of approved work, reports, a seminar, and evaluations. The course is graded pass/fail. An internship requirement was added to the Landscape Contracting major in 2000–01. Enrollment in HORT 2010 was greatest among students in the Turf Management option (TURF) in 3 of 5 years. Over the 5-year period, females averaged 27% of the enrollment in HORT 2010, in part because there was only one female TURF student. The mode for earned hours completed just before the semester of enrollment in HORT 2010 was 97, thus classing the typical intern as a rising Senior. Only 8% of the interns failed to graduate. A total of 126 students interned at 109 different sites, with 70% interning within Oklahoma. Four Oklahoma employers accounted for 23% of all internship employment. Feedback has led to documented program improvements, e.g., `Bilingual Horticultural Communications' was made available on campus via distance education in Spring, 2001; `Turfgrass Integrated Pest Management' was created and added to the TURF option sheet for 2001-2002; and `Personnel and Financial Management for Horticulture' was created and approved in 2005. In a 2000 alumni survey, 100% of responding, employed Horticulture alumni (19 of 19) rated their internship as helpful. The program has worked well and has contributed to student success.

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J.L. Sibley, J.D. Williams, L. Waters and W. Lu

International experiences enhance opportunities for future employment in that many companies, and particularly government agencies desire graduates that comprehend the global economy of our world. Traditional and emerging opportunities with ports of entry, Homeland Security, and international companies are increasing. There are seven primary avenues to an International Experience for Auburn Horticulture students. In recent months, some students have been deployed to military assignments. Through the IPPS we have been able to facilitate student exchange programs. Several graduate students have accompanied faculty on plant expeditions or in agricultural development or research efforts. However, these three types of opportunities are not long-term or sustainable. The E.T. and Vam York Endowment provides monetary support, often equal to air fare, to faculty and graduate students for short duration trips. A similar endowment created by Bill and Margaret Stallworth provides monetary awards for airfare and other incidentals to undergraduates on international internships six months or longer in duration. The Henry P. Orr Fund for Excellence commemorates out-of-the-classroom experiences championed by Orr for almost 40 years at Auburn. The purpose of the Orr Endowment is to provide short-term study tours of gardens of the world for students and faculty. In Summer 2005 we begin our first Horticulture Study Abroad Program operated on a cost recovery basis providing 13 semester hours of academic credit at a cost similar to taking the same course load on campus. Altogether, our current goal is to involve about 10% of our students annually in international opportunities.

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Michael K. Wohlgenant, Charles D. Safley and Anthony N. Rezitis

Data from a survey of North Carolina independent garden center customers in Fall 1996 were used to determine the price responsiveness of mums and pansies. A survey was conducted of four garden centers in the Raleigh, N.C., area and four garden centers operating in the Triad marketing area (Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point, N.C.). Information collected on 1608 consumers included various socioeconomic and demographic variables (age, value of residence, type of residence, number of years in the residence, housing tenure, and employment status) as well as plant purchase information (plant price, plant types, and plant sizes). Price responsiveness of consumers was estimated by analyzing how customers' responses change as prices varied from one store to another and from one location to another. Measures of price responsiveness indicated statistically significant price elasticities of demand of -0.76 for mums and -0.80 for pansies. These elasticities can be used to indicate how industry sales would respond to a change to the industry that affects all firms in the same way—such as the response to an increase in energy costs. The paper shows how to use the elasticities to develop particular pricing strategies under different circumstances facing firms in the industry.

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Catherine McGuinn and Diane Relf

A 17-week vocational horticulture curriculum was assessed for it's effectiveness in changing attitudes about personal success and job preparation, presenting horticulture/landscaping as an appropriate career, developing an attitude of appreciation and fostering of the environment, and strengthen social bonds to reduce delinquent behavior. Pre-tests/post-tests based on Hirsch's tests of social bond for juvenile delinquents were developed and administered to address attitudes toward school, teachers, peers, views, and the environment. A separate pre-post test dealt with career and aspirations. Results of these tests were compared to tests administered at a comparable urban program. Behavioral records for one semester before and semester during the horticulture curriculum were compared. Daily journals maintained by service learning students volunteers were analyzed for observational themes and combined with teachers observations. Success of the program was related to students desire and ability to get summer internships and/or employment in horticultural settings. Due to the limited size of the study group (6) and the school policies limiting follow-up data collection at 6 or 9 months, the results of the study must be seen as trends suggesting future research direction and supporting the continued work being conducted a Norfolk Botanic Gardens.

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James J. Polashock and Nicholi Vorsa

DNA fingerprinting has been useful for genotypic classification of American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.). Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based methodologies including randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers are relatively easy to use, and inexpensive as compared to other methods. However, RAPD markers have some limitations including seamless interlaboratory transferability and susceptibility to certain types of error. An alternative method, sequence characterized amplified regions (SCARs), was developed for cranberry germplasm analysis. Nine primer sets were designed from RAPD-identified polymorphic markers for use in two multiplex PCR reactions. These primer sets generated 38 markers across a cranberry germplasm collection. Estimates of genetic relatedness deduced from employment of the RAPD and SCAR methods were compared among 27 randomly chosen cranberry germplasm accessions. Although both methods produced comparable results above 0.90 coefficient of similarity, branches below this level exhibited variation in clustering. SCAR and RAPD markers can be employed for identifying closely related genotypes. However, the inferences of more distant genetic relationships are less certain. SCAR marker reactions provided more polymorphic markers on a per reaction basis than RAPD marker reactions and as such more readily separated closely related progeny. When SCAR primers were fluorescent dye-labeled for computerized detection and data collection, reduced marker intensity relative to unlabeled reactions was one problem encountered.

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Daniel J. Cantliffe and Stephen R. Kostewicz

For many years, the former Vegetable Crops Department, now the Horticultural Sciences Department, at the University of Florida offered a vegetable crop industries course. This one-credit course is offered each year as a 3- to 5-day field trip into vegetable production areas of Florida in the spring semester during spring break. The intent of the course is to give undergraduate students an extensive on-site evaluation of the application of scientific principles learned in lectures related to Florida's commercial vegetable industry. A new, innovative approach to structuring this course was initiated recently wherein only alumni of the department interacted with the students on all phases of commercial vegetable agriculture in Florida. These alumni had obtained degrees at the BS, MS, or PhD level and represented many professional backgrounds related to producing, handling, and marketing vegetables. Students were exposed to real-life situations and were encouraged to discuss and seek employment opportunities during the farm visitations. Student expenses were offset by donations from the Florida vegetable industry.